Gorilla Tours in Africa, Uganda, Rwanda & Congo

Where To See Gorillas in Africa

Is your dream watching the gentle giants in their natural habitat?It is possible for that dream to come true!

You can go for gorilla trekking in the mountainous areas of Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Gorilla safaris introduces you to an exclusive and an unforgettable chance of interacting with the gentle and powerful giants. You are at liberty to choose where to track Mountain Gorillas from.

Mountain Gorillas are the largest primates in the world and the remaining number of them is found in central and East Africa; thanks to the conservation parties that have ensured safety and protection of these species. The trek is tiresome in most cases but as you continue on your gorilla safari,  there is nothing as exciting as hearing your guide say these words “there they are”.

Truth is that all efforts of this trek immediately evaporate and all you start doing is enjoy watching these giants for an hour. You will watch the young ones jump from branch to branch, watch also the female giants feed and groom the groups as well as the Silverback as he ensure safety of his territory. Take as many photos as you can but still follow the instructions given by your guide.

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Here is where to watch Gorillas from;

Uganda Gorilla Tours

Uganda is one of Africa’s top destinations to watch gorillas. They can be tracked in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and also Mgahinga Gorilla National Park; both these are found in the southwestern part of Uganda. Mgahinga Park lies in the Virunga Massif which also is shared by the parks in DR Congo and Rwanda.

There are 4 gorilla sectors in Bwindi; Rushaga, Ruhijja, Buhoma, and Nkuringo they are well habituated and open for tourism; Mgahinga has one habituated group known as Nyakagezi. Every group allows only 8 individuals to trek per day. In Bwindi is also home to over 200 butterfly species and 350 species of birds; hence also birders can have a great time this area.

There is also a possibility of gorilla habituation though the permit for this goes for 1500USD and 4hours are given to the people to do this activity per day, hence will have more time interacting with the gorillas. In order for one to trek gorillas they need a gorilla permit which is issued by Uganda Wildlife Authority and each goes for 600USD.

How to get there; fly into Uganda at Entebbe Internal Airport, and from there you are welcomed to the Pearl of Africa and you will transfer to one of the above parks by road which is approximately an 8hours drive, you can also go by air using the regional charter flights that fly into Kisoro airstrip.

Rwanda Gorilla Tours

This is where gorilla trekking is so straight-forward since the gorillas are trekked in Volcanoes National Park which is located about 80km away from Kigali International Airport which is approximately a 2hours drive. During your visit to Rwanda for Gorilla trekking you will pay respect at Dian Fossey’s grave one of the great conservationists of these giants. More information from Visit Rwanda Guide. Along this place are many birds and monkeys with great and stunning views of landscape.

The guides are professional and kind, they will lead you through from the starting point until you meet the gorillas, they will also help you endure the steep slopes. It is advisable you trek during the dry season because in the rainy season the paths tend to be muddy and slippery. But still above all whether muddy or not, after meeting these gentle giants all your worries are dissolved. A gorilla permit in Rwanda goes for 1500 USD per person, its permit costs slightly higher than that of Uganda.

Gorilla Trekking In Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

The Mountain Gorillas found here are the same group as those found in Rwanda’s Volcanoes and Uganda’s Mgahinga, but note that some the group scattered in these three national parks is different from that found in Bwindi Forest Impenetrable in Uganda. The mighty giants are found in Virunga National Park which is a recognized UNESCO heritage site

Eastern Lowland Gorillas

There are also Eastern lowland gorillas found in Kahuzi-Biega National Park one of the biggest parks in the country. Therefore you are at liberty to trek anywhere though, Virunga National Park is widely known. Another thing is since DR Congo has had political unrest in the past, it is important that you have enough information about its political state before you travel

The gorilla permit costs 400USD, this is cost per person.

What are the main differences between trekking gorillas in Rwanda and Uganda?

How to decide where to go for mountain gorilla trekking?

Mountain gorilla trekking is a skillful organized and well-built ecotourism adventure. It is the number one tourist attraction in both Rwanda and Uganda, where you will stay, since there is a good range of accommodation choices that are available to you. You need to take a deep breath and enjoy the final guide to mountain Gorilla trekking. The ranger guides are also well trained and will automatically look after you and will feed you with enough information about gorilla trekking. These know about the gorilla population and speak English in Uganda and those of Rwanda, speak French.

Mountain Gorilla Trekking In Uganda

The drive from Kampala to Bwindi is so lovely and this takes a full day of travel. Though you are tracking the mountain gorillas in Bwindi buhoma, Ruhija, Rushaga or Mgahinga National park, you will also enjoy a scenery view enroute. The gorilla permits in Uganda are cheaper and UWA offers off peak season discounts. Uganda has got lots of things to offer before or after your gorilla trekking safari. Rwanda and Uganda are so near to each other , however , you could also track the gorillas in Rwanda and also drive to Uganda for the rest of holiday in East Africa and vice versa

gorilla tours africa

You can meet the beautiful mountain gorillas at Kinigi which is the base for gorilla trekking in Rwanda Volcanoes National Park. There are also over 880 mountain gorillas that live in the mountains that span Uganda, DRC AND Rwanda. This activity is a must for the eco- tourist’s travel list, tracking the mountain gorillas which is a unique wildlife adventure. Each and every meeting with the gorillas is different.

“There is no one who looks into a gorilla’s eyes which are so intelligent, gentle, and vulnerable and can remain unaffected, for the gap between apes and the human disappears; we also know that the gorillas still live with us. Do these species even recognize this ancient connection?- George B. Schaller, Gentle gorillas and National Geographic.

The activity was so low when I first took on Uganda gorilla safaris  in Bwindi impenetrable Forest in Uganda. The main highlight of this trek was seeing a baby gorilla hanging from one arm in the moss covered trees above us. The hike through the tea plantation and the mist covered slopes of the jungle like the forest were the magic part of the whole experience too.

Gorillas seem like animals that you can only spot in your dreams, but in beautiful Uganda you increase the chance when you go on a gorilla trekking. And this is not just any draw. It is a trekking through the pristine jungle of Uganda where the costs you pay to go along are (largely) spent on the protection of these impressive animals. In short: with a gorilla trekking in Uganda you contribute to the preservation of this jungle, to the existence of the most powerful great apes in the world and to the well-being of the people who live in this jungle.

This is what the gorilla trekking through Uganda looks like in short

A gorilla trekking through Uganda is unforgettable. Everything you see, hear and smell is unique and unmatchable. It already starts with the stay, in the middle of the jungle. We slept in a tent and from noon until the next morning only heard birds chirping, monkeys calling and elephants tossing. The whole trek is therefore a true experience. I briefly explain what it looked like.

It was quite a journey with our 4WD. We drove through lush mountain scenery, past villages with wooden houses and through brightly colored towns. At the end of the day it was time. We reached Bwindi National Park: one of two protected areas of virgin forest in southwestern Uganda.

A trekking through the Ugandan jungle is tightly planned. You wake up early in the morning, when the morning dew is still hanging over the tropical rainforest, in your cabin or tent. While you enjoy your Chapati Rolex (Ugandan omelette with vegetables) you can hear the monkeys and birds slowly awakening in the background.

After breakfast, you will walk with your walking stick to the National Park Observation Center. One of the five rangers will divide you, together with your travel group, into a group of maximum six people. It is explained that we must keep at least five meters away from the animals, bury our droppings during the trek and be with the gorillas for a maximum of one hour. Two rangers are present in the jungle who monitor the condition and safety of the gorillas. Via a walkie-talkie they inform the ranger who is with us where the gorillas are.

Suddenly the time has come. Together with our ranger, five men from the village and a policeman, who carries a large rifle, we travel through the dense jungle. With a machete, a path is created as narrow as possible so that the jungle has the opportunity to grow back within one day.

After four hours of trekking through the jungle, accompanied by aggressive forest elephants who were frightened off by the ranger with certain voices, we see a black hairy head peaking above the trees ten meters away. Suddenly he stands and turns around. The silverback. We have spotted the first and most powerful gorilla of the group!

The next hour is one I’ll never forget. We are surrounded by gorillas, from cute little gorilla toddlers and big bossy males and females. The ranger actively communicates with the big giants by making growls and hums. All we can do is look at those immense creatures and listen to the peaceful smacking sounds emanating from their wide mouths.

Why is this gorilla trekking so important?

Let’s get straight to the point: a gorilla trekking through Bwindi National Park does not cost anything. You pay €600 per person. Fortunately, this money is well spent by the Ugandan government. Among other things, protecting the area by actively demarcating the area and arresting poachers.

Furthermore, the government ensures that people in the immediate vicinity find work in other ways than poaching gorillas and illegally felling trees, and that also yields more. For example as a police, vet, guide or employee at a lodge. Finally, people are trained as veterinarians and rangers and deployed to actively contribute to the protection of the animals.

The protection of gorillas and this rainforest is necessary!

Uganda’s jungle consists of Bwindi National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. The jungle of Uganda, together with the jungle of Rwanda, Congo, Cameroon, Angola, Central African Republic, Guinea and Gabon, is the only place in the world where mountain gorillas can be found.

Unfortunately, the mountain gorilla is extremely threatened by the destruction of its habitat. Deforestation and hunting the animals increase the chance that the animal will not survive the 21st century. As a tourist you can contribute to the well-being and conservation of the gorillas. You can of course transfer money to charity, but you can also invest in projects on the spot. Projects in which you yourself participate. Such as the gorilla trekking in the Ugandan Bwindi National Park. In this way you get, in an appropriate way, as a tourist very close to the mountain gorillas.